OPINION

Virtual Reality Fitness: What about long-term motivation?

Virtual Reality Fitness: What about long-term motivation?

Josef is still smashing flares and dancing to the beat of FitXR. But what about motivation?

The holiday season is long gone, but the cookie bulge continues to greet me every morning – even if, upon closer inspection, it’s not quite as prominent in the room as it was in early January. After three weeks of fitness in virtual reality, I’m feeling a lot better, that’s for sure.

My back and neck are no longer competing doggedly for the title of most tense body part, and the extra exercise is also good for my soul. Nevertheless, I’m beginning to have doubts about whether I’ll be happy with FitXR alone. Time for an interim conclusion.

40 kilograms lighter thanks to VR fitness: An (external) success story

Maybe it’s just me, and I am and will remain an indestructible exercise muffin. But others can do it, too. Christine Whyte, for example. The single mom shared her story with VR Fitness Insider in January. A combination of calorie counting and an hour of FitXR every day is said to have helped her shed nearly 40 kilograms in a year.

Previously, she had avoided fitness training, especially in public: “I had an irrational fear of being judged by others,” explains the now 39-year-old. She feared being laughed at as a “sweaty, chubby girl.” Real gyms would therefore be taboo.

VR fitness training helped her escape that fear, she says, and enabled her to work out privately in the comfort of her own home. Today, she says, she is in the shape of her life and can even largely do without her asthma inhaler.

Can VR fitness motivate me in the long run?

Of course, Christine’s story seems like any other success story from a fitness or diet provider. Still, it highlights one of the very big advantages of a VR fitness class: I can attend it in my living room at any time. But do I?

Even as I kicked off my VR fitness long-term test, I asked myself whether VR fitness could do what real-world fitness classes failed to do and keep me hooked in the long run. The answer: yes.

I’m convinced that virtual reality has the potential to make me a fitter person. At the same time, after just three weeks, I’m sure that FitXR alone won’t be enough. It’s too close to reality.

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VR fitness could be so much more than boring calisthenics

My longest streak of doing fitness workouts almost every day so far was a year and a half. After that, I never got beyond a few months at a time until I threw in the towel again. One of the main reasons for this is certainly my aversion to stoically working through repetitive exercises. I also attribute the current absence of a six-pack primarily to this.

Yes, HIIT training at FitXR is intense. But does it remain exciting in the long run? FitXR is already bordering on boring for me. Of course, I’m still doing the beginner’s classes at the moment, and for an untrained office worker like me, they’re pretty exhausting.

But there are only the three basic exercises: Dancing, Boxing and HIIT. They get more intense over time, but they don’t suddenly transport me to a colorful fantasy world or offer me an exciting storyline à la Half-Life: Alyx. Probably, VR Fitness would be more compelling if I didn’t know that virtual reality can do more than just throw flares at me.

Yes to virtual reality fitness, but more variety, please

So after three weeks of VR fitness, I decided to add more spice to the mix. Even after the first FitXR classes, where I clearly overdid it and was on the verge of a full-body strain, I prescribed myself a warm-up before each session. Especially for beginners, warming up is a must – my neck was almost stiff for three days in the beginning. So stretching is already on the schedule in reality.

To stay focused in the VR headset and not get bored, I warm up with a round of Synth Riders. It uses the Beat Saber formula: colorful balls that I have to smash in rhythm. But for my taste, it has much better songs to offer than the cruelly boring FitXR soundtrack.

Who knows, maybe a game of Until You Fall will be added next week. The roguelite action is supposed to be one of the most motion-intensive VR games ever, and I’d have my brightly colored fantasy world, too. I’m addicted to VR Fitness. You just need to reel me in for good. I know you can do it.

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